Joel 2:1 – “Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near.”
I’ve lived close to a fire station for decades, and I am so accustomed to the sound of sirens as trucks and ambulances speed past my apartment that I rarely give them much thought during the day. I am seldom awakened by their sound in the middle of the night. Unless fire trucks pull up to my building, and the fire alarm outside my apartment door sounds, I safely ignore the noise.
However, when the alert sounds in my building, I am immediately awakened, no matter how deep I am sleeping. It is impossible for me to ignore those blaring high-pitched beeps. I have no choice but to wake up and pay attention. Even then, I have a decision – I can reach for my earplugs, shove a pillow over my head and try to go back to sleep, or I can assess the situation. Should I walk down the many flights of stairs even though that could be dangerous due to my disability? Should I call the fire dispatch for further instruction? The decision is left up to me. The alarm did its job; it alerted me to the danger.
God’s alarm of conviction stirs me from my spiritual slumber. He knows when a gentle tap on my shoulder will not rouse me from the slumber caused by persistent indifference, unforgiveness, rebellion, or repeated disobedience. He knows the ramifications of sin are as damaging to my spirit as a raging fire would be to my body. He ensures His warning is heard. When God’s clarion alarm resounds in my spirit, I am left with a choice. Will I rise in repentance or will I harden my heart from hearing His voice?
Just this morning, on the day of the week I usually write these thoughts, my alarm clock briefly woke me up. I sleepily reached over and turned it off. Instead of rising from my bed immediately, I closed my eyes -just for a minute, or so I thought – until I next looked at the clock. Over two hours had passed. Fortunately, the only commitment I had for today was writing this article! I confess I feel as if I am chasing myself all day today, trying to catch up!
How easy it is for us to spiritually slumber and ignore the alarm when God stirs us from our sleep. I once heard it said that delayed obedience is the same as deliberate disobedience. I personally believe that description is apt in most situations. In time and by repeated offenses, delayed obedience will deaden our spiritual ears to the Lord’s promptings.
Do you excuse delayed obedience to God’s promptings with reasonings such as these? “God will understand, I’m only human.” “I will get around to it.” “I can’t do it until I have more time, education, patience, strength, influence, help…” If so, repent. Confess your disobedience, accept His forgiveness, and ask the Lord for His directions and counsel on how you can develop the discipline to step out into instant obedience. Break the habit of putting things off in all aspects of your life.
Do an inventory today. Think back to all the times you didn’t obey those inner promptings and you wish you had done so. Perhaps you felt led to call a relative or a friend and you didn’t, only to learn that they were going through a life-threatening illness or crisis and needed your help. Think about those nudges you felt driving home from work to avoid your favourite route you ignored only to be stuck in traffic because of an accident or road construction. Then think about the times you did respond to those nudges and the rewards that came from your obedience.
If you are wondering why God is not speaking to you much these days, ask the Lord if you’ve been wearing spiritual earplugs and reaching over to turn off His alarm way too often.
For further reading, I suggest you start with the story of young Samuel in the temple. (1 Samuel 3) He obeyed the counsel from his mentor, Eli, and he obeyed the subsequent directives of the Lord, even though he did so with fear and trembling as the word gave him was not an easy one to deliver.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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